Connections: Sabbatical 1998 • Description

2. Sculpture and Facilities

My goal was to visit as many universities and colleges with sculpture programs as was practical. The same considerations was also true in my visiting as many universities and colleges with sculpture programs and sculpture parks, both at museums and at institutions of learning. My visiting with curators, galleries, and other sculptors led to many contacts that I will take advantage of to exhibit my work. In pursuit of exhibiting opportunities, I have been successful in making arrangements with Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey and the Sculpture Guild in New York City, for exhibits.

My understanding and sensitivity to sculpture has been greatly expanded by my experiences. I now better understand and am reinvigorated by the relationship of the environment to the art and culture of the North American Continent.

Universities and Colleges with Sculpture Programs: Impressions and Educational Observations

My observations are based on a reasonable amount of visiting to other campuses that have graduate programs in sculpture. My report is more about facilities, surroundings and space then about curriculum. I did try to discover the effectiveness of their curriculum and program by observing students' work in the studios and on display.

The following are general observations. I will deal with specifics later. In observing other graduate sculpture programs and trying to judge their success, I found several similar factors, space, and facilities, number of TAs, length of program - 2, 3, or 4 years, number of faculty, and budget.

  • Our program has the best equipment of any facility that I reviewed, although our space is at a minimum.
  • The successful programs seemed to have the best student teacher radio, usually two or three faculty. This is for diversity as well as ratio. Having more then a couple of TAs also is a great advantage. This is not only for recruitment but to be better able to have a staff of well-trained students to assist with the many complex, technological areas of supervision.
  • In visiting and speaking to other sculpture departments, I realized that there was little more I could do to make our sculpture program more successful. I have done all that I personally can. The rest is up to the University, such as space, faculty, budget, and TAs.
  • Because of the complexity and time element inherit to sculpture, a longer period of time for candidates to complete their projects seems to be more desirable, a three-year period seems preferable.
  • Some of the graduate programs of Sculpture that I visited were at Alfred, Purchase, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Arizona, UCLA, University of Washington, Vancouver College of Art, and Chicago Art Institute. It was often difficult to visit some campuses because my visit coincided with holidays or they were in hiatus for the summer months.

My conclusions as to why sculpture seems to have a hard time being supported sufficiently by institutions of higher learning are:

  1. There are only a few capable or motivated students wanting to deal with the complexities of sculpture. It is rewarding that those students that pursue sculpture are often successful.
  2. Sculpture is very expensive to equip and maintain compared to other disciplines. All art disciplines have a hard time securing grants, especially when compared with the sciences.
  3. Sculpture, by most other evaluators, seems to be more physical then cerebral.


Although I have often been told that the differences in funding and support for the arts has much to due with an institution being public or private, I found this to be largely unfounded. Some of the public institutions visited had some of the best facilities and support. I did sense a lack of respect and accommodation for the creative artist, particularly towards faculty at public institutions. Examples - of this can be found in space allocated for faculty to do their own work and students and faculty work exhibited around campus. The photos and enclosed tapes have